What a week this has been for catching up with old friends I haven’t seen for years! I mentioned Brenda in the last posting – we had taught at the same school in the late 70s, and though we kept in touch sporadically we hadn’t seen each other for a good number of years.
Coming out of choir practice last week I saw a face in the school corridor, that I recognised, though I hadn’t seen it since 1979! It belonged to Sheila, from the Isle of Skye, my flatmate in Edinburgh for a couple of years before she got married. I practically pushed everyone out of the way to get to speak to her before she disappeared. “Sheila!” It wasn’t even a question. She hadn’t changed a bit. Marriage and two sons hadn’t done what the years have done to several of my friends, and she looked as young as ever. I, on the other hand, obviously have changed – well, I’ve changed my hair colour and style and put on weight – as she didn’t recognise me at all at first. I had to remind her! Well, she knew immediately then, and we had a long blether – chat – about the years that had passed, before exchanging email addresses and phone numbers, and going on our ways. It was strange to be able to tell choir members in the pub later that Sheila was the one who had introduced me to Gaelic choir singing during the time we shared the flat, and now I am hoping to reintroduce her to it, if I can persuade her to join the Lothian choir!
Next day, I had an email from Fiona, an old school friend, who I have only seen once since we left school in 1967 – and that was at the school reunion held last year, and which I talked about in the blog here at the time. Fiona is on the right, standing at the back in front of the mirror. She’s now retired and catching up with friends! So we met for lunch the other day and blethered about school memories, our families, things we had done in the intervening years, places we had visited…. lovely! I forgot to take a photo album along to show her, of the school cruise we went on when we were about 15, so next time we meet I will take it along with me.
My dear friends from Invercargill, New Zealand, arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday night, when I met them off the bus from Cambridge, and took them to their guest house. We had tea together later, and then yesterday we had an afternoon out, driving a bit round the city, and visiting the former royal yacht – Britannia. People are generally very surprised and somewhat disappointed at how ordinary and not at all “regal” the ship appears to be, and I think that is why the royals liked it so much. It was somewhere they could just be themselves, without the prying eyes of the public and the paparazzi tracking their every move. The private rooms are all very ordinary – stylish, but ordinary – when you see them through the glass panels that have replaced parts of the once solid walls There are the offices used by the Queen and Prince Philip, as royal duties continued even at sea, and the
In contrast to the spacious royal quarters the sailors’ quarters are small and cramped. Up till 1979 they even still slept in hammocks,, but latterly had bunk beds – three, one above the other, in this case, on each side of a “room” with about 18 inches of a passage between beds.
Later after tea in Ocean Terminal with views of Britannia’s prow, we took a drive round Arthur Seat and the Crags to see more spectacular views of Edinburgh and its surrounds. The sun was going down, but against all advice we pointed our cameras in its direction, to get the silhouette of the Royal Mile ridge in the distance, and nearer at hand, Salisbury Crags and the Radical Road, a pathway beneath the cliffs. A little bit of tweaking on the computer helped to produce this picture…. I’m quite happy with that!
Today Eunice and Keith are having a relaxing day off, as they have been on the go non-stop for about two weeks…and blow me! The phone rang this morning and here was another friend from long years ago,1966 in fact, but who I have seen a few times over the years – last time was about 3 years ago, when I made this scrapbook page. Ruth and her husband are on their way north to visit their son, and are coming through Peebles in about an hour so I am off to meet them for lunch! I’ll wait till later to post this on my blog and hopefully I’ll have a picture or two more to put in.
We started to take photos of each other and finally had our picture taken all together by a kindly guy sitting on a bench nearby. So here are the three of us together.
Now they are on their way again, heading over the Forth Bridge and into the Kingdom of Fife! I wonder who the next old friend to call will be! I’ll let you know!
Talk again soon.